The Weird Way to Boost Your Sad Mood

Jenna Birch
by Jenna Birch
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The Weird Way to Boost Your Sad Mood

Have you ever wondered why you feel the urge to blast your “tearjerker” playlist when you’re down in the dumps? Maybe it’s because sad tracks can actually improve your dreary mood— if they also have one other characteristic, according to new research.

In a study published in the Psychology of Music, researchers at the University of Limerick looked at the effect of “Self-Identified Sad Music” on the moods of participant. Motives for choosing certain kinds of songs varied, but the only quality that directly predicted an uptick in the listener’s mood was if a track was considered “beautiful.” Improved attitude has to do with your perception of the aesthetic beauty of the music and the quality of the song. Which means sorrowful ballads can help you indulge your bad day, and simultaneously give you a pick-me-up. (It makes sense that your post-breakup Adele binge was really a form of self-soothing, right?)

The next time you’re feeling blue, consider putting some somber melodies on repeat, as long as you promise to feel better after. Here are 20 sad-but-beautiful songs that may help lift your spirits:

  1. “The House That Built Me,” Miranda Lambert
  2. “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” Taylor Swift
  3. “Someone Like You,” Adele
  4. “Say Something,” A Great Big World
  5. “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” John Mayer
  6. “Hey Jude,” The Beatles
  7. “Jar of Hearts,” Christina Perri
  8. “The Scientist,” Coldplay
  9. “Tears in Heaven,” Eric Clapton
  10. “When It Rains,” Paramore
  11. “If I Die Young,” The Band Perry
  12. “Charlie Boy,” The Lumineers
  13. “Stay,” Sugarland
  14. “It Will Rain,” Bruno Mars
  15. “The A Team,” Ed Sheeran
  16. “Apologize,” One Republic
  17. “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston
  18. “Every Breath You Take,” The Police
  19. “Something in the Way,” Nirvana
  20. “Doesn’t Remind Me,” Audioslave

Have you ever tried this sad-song trick to boost your mood? What’s your favorite “downer” tune?

About the Author

Jenna Birch
Jenna Birch

Jenna Birch is a health and lifestyle writer. She has written for many web and print publications, including Marie Claire, Runner’s World, and As a nutrition and fitness junkie, she’s a lifelong athlete, major college sports fan and developing yogi—but still can’t resist the allure of an occasional chocolate lava cake. (Everything in moderation, right?) For more, visit her at or follow her on Twitter.  


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